New Zealand news hit by 'lightning' strikes

TVNZ Auckland offices

State broadcaster TVNZ's flagship evening news has been targeted for industrial action, with staff walking off the job just before it went to air on Sunday night (5 Nov).

Auckland Newstalk reported that union members in various parts of the organisation carried out lightning strikes between four and seven o'clock. They also took industrial action before One News aired on Friday night.

The unions claim the strikes have resulted in a significant loss of quality on One News, as management scrambled to cover missing local content with more international stories, the use of junior reporters, and longer interviews. PSA organiser Brenden Sheehan says so far there have not been major problems between striking staff and those staying on deck. He says tempers are however starting to rise, and the unions are hoping to find a resolution before things break down completely. But he says strikes will continue indefinitely until TVNZ comes up with a suitable pay offer. He says staff are getting frustrated with TVNZ's attitude to the strikes, and it is hardening their resolve.

The other union involved is the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

Background
Workers are demanding a 5% pay increase, having rejected a 2.25% offer. Sunday's action follows earlier lightning strikes which began on 30 October. Also disrupted was TVNZ's breakfast show, prompting an abrupt change in newsreader, the loss of a cameraman and more space having to be filled by ad breaks.

Auckland Newstalk originally reported "wildcat strikes" which they have now renamed "lightning" strikes, and we at libcom.org are unsure as to whether all the actions are union-sanctioned or not, though some definitely are. Anyone with information please contact us.